The world that one exists within eventually seems to become a place of never ending disappointment under the weight of the ever shifting controlled chaos of a fickle indifferent society. And as such it does often seem that as one grows up and eventually grows old there is little help for those that it abrades to regain a sense of lost innocence that was their initial state of being. The notion of same in practice as an adult considered a sign of simple-mindedness by the surrounding ill winds of decadent cynicism that pervades popular culture where being vulnerable in public eye is nearly an unpardonable sin. The invocation to those little aspiring mortals caught within what was once long ago a period of time known as childhood being to toughen up and be disciplined in the face of the domino-like gauntlet of one disappointment after another leading to an inexhaustible series of same. The semblance of appearing to win being more important than daring to ask for a uncompromising acceptance for what one is at their weakest moments. Perhaps one can know of how much one’s self has been corrupted over the years by their wonder at a tiny little untainted soul in distress and as such know what innocence truly is yet again?
The experience of supervising young children in the middle of the first decade of their earthly existence for an hour each day has taught this author as much about life as the proceeding decades of constant collision with the vagaries of existence in an urban realm. Those occasional moments when one is challenged to depart from the strict guidelines of professional indifference and lend a kindly ear with sympathy being a minefield for misunderstanding. As a an adult male caught within a much larger political battlefield it is taking a chance with ones career and nebulously ambivalent social standing to provide such a human gift. My present wonder at this is occasioned by a most recent experience where a tender young lady of between five and six and small in stature for her age. The first one to arrive generally having to apply almost all of her strength to pull aside the heavy hydraulic cylinder loaded doors. The ring of her childish vocal chords resounding in a nursery room cartoon impression of adulthood as she experiences it. Her encounter with the decorum of the classroom itinerary of the teacher necessarily forward as if by some internal undisclosed resource provided her as a young cub to survive the hostile world of older peers by this effort. The playing deck of varying childish rivals who demand attention from the one adult influence as the dealer of regulated progress in this classroom assembly for their own form of unstructured acting out within the context of the coming hour always in contest with those small and perceived as weak but ever resilient. Yet in my experience with children over the last year in considering what has been for me as a lonely bachelor verified by decades of solitary existence, as undeniably miraculous.
To see such a little soul unexpectedly demeaned to tears within this constant battle for hegemony in the ruthless pecking order of the patent meanness that those in the group casually deal is equally heartbreaking. One wanting deep down to violate the strict taboos of this workplace and simply offer the solace of a warm embrace to assure that the world they live in though so often mean in spirit is not without sympathy for their plight. The next best thing being offering a middle ground in engaging her in conversation in one’s supposed position as battled worn sage. Enlightening her as best one can by offering the notion that their mentor was once as young and vulnerable as she was. What a wonderful and terrible disclosure to find that the object of her pain is one of the other little boys that rage about the room in constant careless play. Equally innocent in his way despite him testing every rule to favor his experience of the world by ever testing its confining boundaries. The ghostly descendants of these same little demon spirits that once plagued one far ago in one’s own experience at five. The whispered secret as solution to the sorrowful tale pf woe that she relates in her version of unrequited desire for singular connection with this ruthless rapscallion being to reveal that his form of reaching forth to vie for her affection is to be ever annoying. The part that one necessarily leaving out that perhaps this same menace is just being annoying with no other underlying motive resting behind his perceived infamies as she suffers them.
How odd it then seems then to one so late in life to be aware as a bystander of this same old endless repetition of dissension imposed as d’rigor of common playground etiquette? The battering and bruises that these young untainted souls endure seemingly harmless to the outside view of adult sensibilities now long decades past. Yet realizing for the moment that these seemingly incidental scars too often are carried through an inadvertent pattern of behavior abstraction over the course of their future lives. To see this in such a way and offer one’s mercy to try to explain as best one can that all are equally likely beset along the way with the basic unfairness of misdirected emotions by others. Hoping that despite the futility of the situation and their lack of stature of the one in pain that it is not just childhood but the beginning experiences that they must fathom as part of the experience of life. The moral lesson in all this seemingly inferring that as members of that final constituency of those growing fatally old and near to an earthly passing we must return in one way or another to those days of childhood where it all began. How ironic that one who by the fact of their solitary existence of seven decades would be shown the world where life in general by virtue of connection by paring is renewed by the fresh experiences of the offspring that are produced. How even one whose own life having been cast at a distance from all this is renewed in some small way by contact with these initial petite dramas. It makes one feel that the universe around is not simply an empty vessel that can only be filled with regrets.